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Special K

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  1. Thanks, JTravel. I didn't make it clear that I was trying to come up with things that needed refrigeration in their normal form, but which exist in a shelf-stable "just add water" incarnation.
  2. I'm making my shopping list for the first time back to the grocery store in a while. I need to buy perishables, of course, but I'd also like to buy some replacements for perishables in case of a real can't-go-shopping situation (like an earthquake or some other natural or man-made disaster) that might involve losing power. So far I've come up with powdered and evaporated milk and powdered eggs. But what else? I suppose I should have some dried soup mixes, too. I may make a trip to REI's camping food section to see what they have. We always do have stored water, but it might be a good idea to get one of those Giardia filters, just in case. Oh, and I'm definitely planting more edibles amongst my flowers! Lettuce starts are available now, and I'm going to be planting those in hanging baskets on the deck. I already grow and use an obscene amount of rosemary, but other than a few different kinds of thyme, some parsley, and a little bay tree, everything else in the garden right now is for show, not for cooking. I don't have a big empty yard space that I can dig up and make a "real" garden - it's all trees and shrubs and paths and way too many roses (no grass at all). I'm hoping it's pretty easy to grow chives from seed in pots, because I like and buy a lot of chives. I don't mean to go into siege mode, but this experiment has got me thinking.
  3. I can't do gas or dual fuel because putting in a gas line is too expensive, and I don't want a glass top because I often use heavy cast iron pots and I'm clumsy. I can't do a vent hood because the range goes under a window. (Not too picky, am I?) I've been looking at Jennair, but the only one I see that would work for me has the downdraft down the middle of the cooktop, rather than in the back, as my current Dacor does. I don't want another Dacor (been very unhappy with the current one). I'm thinking that the downdraft down the center will take up valuable real estate. So, does anyone know of another brand of slide in electric with the downdraft across the back? Thanks. (edited to remove a stray comma)
  4. And has anyone else besides me been making up a shopping list for next week that contains allll the stuff we missed so much and are determined never to run out of again? I found two pears (in very good shape) in the back of the crisper this morning and almost wept with joy! I will be treating them soooo tenderly tonight! And I'd just about kill for a cherry tomato right about now.
  5. Last night instead of the shrimp with rice I was thinking of doing, we had our version of one of the "20 minute meals" in the newest Real Simple mag. (We got home late and hungry). The recipe was for Lemony Shrimp with White Beans and Couscous and it reminded me that I always seem to forget about using couscous instead of rice, and I knew there was a can of white beans in the pantry. I had some little lemons in the freezer (someone here at eGullet told me I could do that - thanks!) and I just dropped one in warm water and it thawed beautifully (and turned out to be completely seedless). I used my shrimp stock to cook the couscous (and the new shrimp shells went right back with the rest of the stock into the pot so the new batch is even better). The only things I didn't have on hand were scallions (I used a regular yellow onion and it was fine) and fresh parsley (the parsley I grow out on the deck was under a few inches of the freak snow we had yesterday morning) The dish really needed something green, so I added some leftover cooked peas. They weren't really that beautiful - you know how re-cooked peas get sort of grey? - but they were nice and plump and tasty, and the dish was a success. Normally, when I cook from a new recipe I try to follow it exactly, but next time I do shrimp and coucous I'll do it this way again (with fresher peas). The wine last night was another Burrell School. This one was "Spring Break" Syrah, a 2005 Estate Pichon Vineyard - Santa Cruz Mountains. Oh, man. Heaven. So nice to have just for us, on a regular weeknight -- we could get used to this! Uh, oh. It was Doc's turn to make breakfast, and he found some more leftover low-salt Spam (I thought we'd seen the last of that earlier in the week) and chopped it up and served it with scrambled eggs in our new favorite vehicle, pita bread. We'll snack on cheese and/or nuts again for lunch, and tonight we'll be having a meal straight from the freezer - hamburgers (Costco sirloin burgers left over from a work-related party that was I'm embarrassed to say how long ago) on onion rolls, and something from the array of frozen veggies - I think probably broccoli, which we like with blue cheese dressing - and then I can offer blue cheese for the burgers, too. We'll miss tomatoes and lettuce (well, I'll check the salad mix that's been sitting the clear "plastic" box it came in for a while -- it might still be OK. I have found that the boxed stuff usually does hold up much better than bagged salad greens; I just wash it in the spinner as soon as I get it home, and put it right back in the box.) Tomorrow will be leftover biscuits, with sausage gravy (normally I'd use Jimmy Dean roll sausage, but I'm out, so I'll thaw out a couple of Costco's chicken and apple sausages and skin 'em. I'm out of milk and I'll want to save enough cream for Doc's coffee (!), but I've used plain yogurt and/or sour cream in sausage gravy before so I know that'll work). Leftovers from earlier dinners for lunch (if we want any) and an early dinner at a PTA function we will be attending. Eggs in some form Sunday morning, and the Sunday dinner roast beef will have to be braised stove-top (oven is out of commission). I'll use all of the rest of the fingerling potatoes and some of the carrots and onions and a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and some chicken stock for that. (So, even though it will be late, that's my Saturday potluck contribution.)
  6. As I mentioned yesterday in another topic, I am in need of a new slide-in electric range with a downdraft. Would anyone who has experience with Jennairs or comparable ranges please give me the benefit of your wisdom? I'm expecting to spend about $2K. Thanks. (edetted bekuz ah kant spel.)
  7. Yes, that was interesting. Despite my misgivings, I might just have to give this a try. But I just can't see the cold water start happening.
  8. Wait! Whoa! Hold on just a minute! Wine-runs are out, too?! Uhhhh . . . Well, goody! We get to dip into the good stuff! Whoo-hoo! So, I guess I spoke (boasted) too soon about this being easy. Last night in the middle of cooking the turkey pot pie the freakin' oven door fell off when I opened it to check on the pie!! I could just continue to use it with the oven-cleaning latch on, but that seems a bit too risky, so I think I'll just retire the range until I can replace it - a challenge in itself, cuz it might be awhile, but I think I remember a topic somewhere here about making do without an oven. Actually, it doesn't upset me too much, because there is a silver lining here as well. I've mentioned before that I hate this oven, and now I feel truly justified in replacing it. This is its third strike; the two cast iron burners which heat up slowly and cool down even more slowly, the one regular coil burner that doesn't work any more, the light that is so weak it doesn't illuminate anything (so I have to keep opening the door), the clock that stopped years ago, the fact that something blows and has to be replaced every time I try to actually use the self-cleaning feature, and now this (wait, that's six strikes!). So I have to find $2K or so for a new oven (I'm looking for an electric slide-in range (has to be electric ) with a downdraft (it's under a window), a convection oven and range components I can mix and match), but in the meantime, no oven. I can get along fine without it for most everything for a while (as long as the two remaining burners keep working!), but there will be no baking (unless I can do the no-knead bread in the Weber). Good thing I had the pitas and the extra biscuits! They'll last us easily for the rest of the week. So. Last night was the turkey pot pie, paired with a 2005 Burrell's School "Detention" Amador Ryan Oaks Vineyard zin that was absolutely the best wine I have ever tasted. Made contemplating the expense of a new range quite bearable. This morning we shared a ham & cheddar omelet for breakfast, and we brought in a selection of three or four bits of leftover cheese from last Friday's impromptu party for lunch between classes. Tonight I think I'll do shrimp and rice with cubed carrots and frozen peas. That's a favorite of ours, and I can use the shells to add to my stock of shrimp stock. I must say, this really has been a wonderful exercise and a great read. I've added a bunch of new dishes to my "must try" list, and I've noticed several new members (welcome!), and I've been thinking a lot about what really should be in my freezer, and what doesn't need to be there (at least in as much quantity). For instance, next time I get a chance I think I'm going to make and freeze several batches of mirepoix (I think it will be ok if I sweat it first). And why did I have a six-year-old store-bought fruitcake of unknown origin taking up space in there? Thanks for the link to Bittman's frozen vegetable article, Fat Guy. I somehow missed that, and now I feel much better about using frozen bell pepper strips!
  9. I just ran into this thread yesterday, but since the last time I remember shopping is Friday (the 20th), and that was just for snacks for friends who called at the last minute and announced they were stopping by, I figured I could start today. Normally I do shop every day or every other day (good excuse to get in a walk), but I'd been trapped at my desk for a few days at least before that and I honestly can't remember when I shopped before Friday. So. Yesterday's breakfast was the second half of a can of spam, sliced and lightly fried, topped with eggs and Frank's sauce, accompanied by a couple of the buttermilk biscuits I made Sunday morning (wasn't paying attention to quantities in the recipe and turned out two dozen of 'em). Lunch was a boiled egg for each of us, and we got into the mixed nuts later. Dinner was catfish, rolled in flour, dipped in the last of the buttermilk and then rolled in heavily spiced (cumin, chili powder, cayenne, etc.) cornmeal. Let them rest for about 15 minutes and then fried them in 2 T corn oil. Delicious. Served with some peas from the freezer and the last of the cottage cheese and a couple more biscuits. Breakfast this morning was leftover steak with scrambled eggs folded into pita bread (turns out we like that a lot better than our usual tortillas, eureka!). I was going to cheat at lunch and pick up some fruit or something at the market (I had to go buy cookies for the after school study hall - we have to lure the kids in with food), but I forgot to get anything for us, so we dipped into the bag of pistachios that we keep here next to the mixed nuts (as you can tell, we're not really big lunch eaters. Nuts are nutritious and filling and easy to eat on the go). For tonight's dinner, I took out some of the turkey pot pie filling I made and froze a few weeks ago. I'll either make a pie crust topping for it or use up some more biscuits. Tomorrow for breakfast will be cheese omelets, I think, and eggs in some form for the rest of the week, with diced sliced ham and/or cheese. I'll boil some more eggs for lunches (for some reason I happen to have an excess of eggs - I think I bought 18 last time I did shop, and DH must have done the same thing.) I might get fancy and make egg salad and bring in a couple of the pitas. For the rest of the week's dinners the freezer has yielded a ton of stuff: a nice small beef roast (which will give us leftovers for lunch or maybe dinner another night), some chicken tenders (I'm thinking Morroccan chicken with preserved lemons - I just started on a kick and I have all kinds of fresh spices to use. I'd rather use bone-in chicken thighs for that, but I'll use what I've got), more catfish fillets, an unopened bag of very large shrimps, some sausages and a couple of nice thick steaks from Costo and oh, boy! some spaghetti sauce (enough to use as spaghetti one night and doctor up as chili another night). I have so much to choose from I may continue past the one-week experiment, just so I can see what the bottom of the freezer looks like. In the cupboard there are plenty of onions (always), a few potatoes (one meal's worth of fingerlings), lots of canned tomatoes (but no fresh ones, alas), a jar of minced garlic, a couple of boxes of spaghetti, tons of rice and lots of various flours (Fred's had a sale on those great two-gallon glass jars with covers recently, and I bought a half-dozen of them and filled them with staples), and all of the basic baking necessities, and in the fridge there are some dried fruits, some carrots, some celery (which I should use soon), my beloved - and extensive - mustard collection, lots of different kinds of cheese, a bit of bacon and some sliced ham, some sour cream and some plain Greek yogurt (technically that belongs to the cats but they let me raid it sometimes), and even a large container of cream for DH's morning coffee (and he lets me raid that). Really, I don't think this is going to be too hard for me, but I will enjoy the exercise and I'm certainly enjoying everyone's posts here. The only thing I will miss and might be forced to go out and buy is my seltzer - I need a little bottle of seltzer by the bedside for middle-of-the-night sips. Plain tap water just won't do (I need to look into getting one of those do-it-yourself siphon bottles). I'd normally buy some salad greens, too, but I can get by on frozen veggies for a week. This is fun! Thanks, Fat Guy.
  10. I'd choose my pots. I have a very small kitchen, with very little storage space. Over the years I've whittled down my collection to just those pots I really love. (I gave some cast iron pots away and ended up scouring second-hand shops, etc., to replace them because I missed them so much.) Sure, they're replaceable, but not as easily as the knives. Old pots are old friends; new, shiny knives are new, shiny knives!
  11. This bothered me, too. I'm glad the article and the NYT style book got corrected. (For years, Sunset Magazine kept talking about something called a "cooky." That drove me nuts as well.)
  12. Aha! Another use for my truffle salt! Mmmmm!
  13. Thank you for posting this - I like the idea a lot - no batteries! I've found that when the HandiVac stops pulling a vacuum it sounds exactly the same, so it takes a while for me to realize the batteries need changing. Please let us know if it holds the vacuum - I don't see why it wouldn't.
  14. Is he related to or an admirer of Rahm Emmanuel? Emmanuel has been known to repeatedly stab a steak knife into a table and scream "Die! Die! Die!" while referring to his political opponents. ← I don't think so, but he'd either get along very well with Rahm, or they'd kill each other.
  15. Oh! And another one I've repressed until just a few days ago: We went to visit an old friend who had invited us to "come for dinner" when we were in town. We called, he said C'mon over. We get there, meet his wife and little boy (about three or four years old), and stand around, chatting. Then she sits down, so we all do. No offer of tea, water, nuthin. OK. Finally we figure out that there's no dinner. So we say, "let's go out!" He and she dicker for a while about where, and since we're out-of-towners, we haven't a clue. Finally they decide upon a place, and we go. Not bad, not great. She breastfeeds the kid at the table (remember, now, he's three or four years old), drawing as much attention to herself as possible (there was mention about how goooooood it felt). OoooKaaaay. So the bill comes, and we say, "this is on us." She says, quite loudly, "Well, heckfire! If we'd known you were paying, we'd have recommended a NICE place!" Not OK. Our friend didn't react at all - he's either oblivious or used to it and resigned. On the way back to our hotel, my husband pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. We just looked at each other, sat silently for a moment, and then both of us simultaneously SCREAMED!! This was about twelve years ago, and he just emailed us very recently. We are afraid to answer him, for fear of letting this woman back into our lives. Old friend/hideous wife. We're still thinking.
  16. My husband's then-boss, having had too much to drink while waiting for a table in a very nice Seattle restaurant, launched into a very colorful tale about something or other, and to make his point, HE STABBED THE TABLE - REPEATEDLY! - WITH HIS STEAK KNIFE! His own boss (the CEO) is so appallingly rude to the waitstaff, the chefs, the owners, etc., that he is blacklisted at just about every fine dining establishment in Seattle. Be glad.
  17. Another one: the ksssh, ksssh, ksssh sound of the pressure cooker - pot roast is almost ready. Always coincided with the music from The Wonderful World of Disney.
  18. Just boil it in a lot of water, like you would spaghetti. Then strain it when it's almost done, put it back in the pot with the lid on, and wait a few minutes. Easy!
  19. I love musique du pain - the crackling sound of the bread "singing" just after you take it out of the oven.
  20. My scones are just not as good as anybody else's. I keep trying, but something always goes wrong.
  21. I have an LG with the french doors and bottow drawer freezer (just one - now I wish I had the two-drawer model). I love it except that the front (mine is black) is extremely dent-able. Watch for that.
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